Freedom Race

WoodenPath_CheersSusan

Wooden Path @ Convict Lake California

Awhile ago, I read a blog post by Sarah from It Starts With. The topic: Freedom Race. The objective: to gain independence with the support of others over the course of a year to change your life.

Let’s just say, it has inspired me to challenge myself to meet my own goals for FREEDOM. But first, I need to define what freedom looks like to me. How will I feel? Who will I be? What do I want to change? How will I change? What will it mean when I achieve it? How will I recognize it?

So, as I sit here on a grey and cloudy May day, I am going to try and put some thoughts/plans/dream/goals/etc down in an attempt to clarify my own version of freedom. Because freedom means something different to all of us. For me, it’s time for a change to get closer to my own definition. In order to do that, it’s time to shake things up again. Time to take that next step. But where am I going?

For me, freedom comes from security. Many of my personal goals are about security. Primarily financial security. The end goal is not $728 million dollars, not that I would turn away a windfall like that’s, but my goal is to be debt free, with the exception of an affordable mortgage, and have a rainy day fund that also includes a strong retirement portfolio. You never know what the future will hold and I want to make sure that I’ll be okay. 

For now, I’m challenging myself to the following:

Financial security

This ones pretty big and will require me to get out of that zone of comfort we so often find ourselves in. So, my pledge is to challenge myself to put myself out there. With this blog, with some projects I have, and to really go for what I want with my career.

  • Savings – continue to add to the ol’ savings account for the emergency fund, future home down payment, etc.
  • Pay off all student loan debt and, possibly, the Subaru – honestly, I’m not sure this will all happen in the next 12 months, but what the hell, it’s time to put it out there and go for it, right?
  • Fully fund Roth IRA and other retirement plans – gotta build that little ol’ nest egg some more 

Health

Last year I got really sick in November. There was this whole double infection (kidney and bladder) and kidney stones. Plus, a sever allergic reaction to the antibiotics I was on. My new mantra: Never again! So, it’s time to get serious about getting things taken care of and not take my very fortunate good health for granted. 

  • Get everything checked out (annual/physical, colonoscopy (my brother died of colon cancer at the age of 25 so kinda need to take precautions), dentist, eye check up, etc.)
  • Run more / move more – I love running but in the last few months I’ve drifted away from it due to a sprained ankle from hiking and because of work. Running is my therapy so I need to get back to it. Also, I want to move more in general and tackle some really big challenges. So more hiking, camping, backpacking, half marathons, marathons, maybe ultra marathons, summitting Mt. Whitney and other mountains, building more muscle/strength, and it’s totally time to start meditating again. It’s time I round out/balance things and create a more sustainable and varied routine. 
  • Testing limits & learning new things – after running the LA Marathon I’ve been worndering “what’s next?” I’d like to try some more half marathons. I think they are sort of the easiest yet still challenging distance. I’d like to incorporate them into part of my weekend a ventures. Running is a fantastic way to get to see a place. Plus, fellow runners are awesome people! But, I think I’d like to use them to prep for an ultra. Which one?  I don’t know. When? I’m not sure of that either. I just want to test my limits. In order to do so I’m going to need to do a bit of educating myself on things like nutrition, hydration, training, supplements, cross training, etc. This is a whole new beast, or level of crazy, depending on who you ask. 

Learn & Grow

I want to push myself to continue to grow, to learn new things, to try new things, and to explore. This is not only in my personal life but also with my career. I need to take the next steps that will get me closer to where I want to be and doing what I want to do. 

  • Kitchen – there are millions of things I have yet to make, skills I have yet to acquire, and things I have yet to try. I want to expand my skill set by mastering some basics like knife skills from La Technique and classic recipes like those from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking , to whipping up perfect macaroons, juicing like a ninja, bbq’ing like a pit master, and understanding the the role food plays, not only in nourishing our bodies, but also the role it serves in our family and societal structures. 
  • Wanderlust – with millions of places to explore I can’t help but want to get out there and experience life but seeing it first hand. So, more road trips need to happen. Right now, I’m looking at several hikes leading up to Mt. Whitney, which I should be hiking in early June if the weather cooperates, then there’s a family road trip to Bellingham, WA in July, and a road trip through the Southwest in October. 
  • Knowledge – for me this will take on the form of reading books, TED Talks, podcats, documentaries, visiting places like museums and libraries to national parks and towns along the way. It’ll come from the research I’m doing for a couple of the books I’m thinking about writing. It will also come from projects I’d like to do (console table, anyone?) and from life in general. By just being present and being willing to listen or to actively seeks out information or answers to questions will bring the knowledge I’m seeking even if I don’t know what all of it is at the moment.
  • Photography & Writing – I’ve been falling more and more in love with the process of taking photos. Part of it is the getting out there, finding places with a sense of sprit, and exploring them. I’ve been to some really cool places this year (posts to come) and can’t wait to discover more. I want to learn more about the art of photography. Things like f-stop, apperature, and the like. There will be lots of practicing in my future. I’m not sure where I want this to end. I’m not sure there is an end. I just want to regularly take fantastic photographs and share them. Speaking of sharing, I’d like to write mor and by write I don’t mean write hundred of emails everyday. I mean write things with importance. It could be a blog post or it could be a page or two of the book on sustainable fashion that I’m working on, or it could simply be a few lines about living in the moment to remind me to be present. We’re not talking earth shattering non-fiction on molecular biology but rather getting back into the habit of putting words down on a regular basis. 

There is one other freedom that I am also working on that, for now, I would like to keep to myself. But when it happens I’ll let you guys know. It will help to make some of the things listed above happen. It will also take me to places, both internally and externally, that I have never been. It will test my long held beliefs of security and change my path for the better. 

So, you may be asking why these goals? Why not a fancy new car or a house or a closet full of designer clothes? I have a super great Subaru so I don’t need a fancy new car. It’s the perfect car for me and it has seat warmers which is super fancy for me. My truck didn’t have seat warmers! The house is coming but in order to get there I want a savings account safety net and 20% down. What can I say I’m old fashioned like that! I’d very much like to start a family and for me to do that I really want to have a house and a safety net. As for those designer clothes. I’m starting to pare things down and take a more minamalist approach. I don’t need 58 different pairs of pants nor do I need 102 shirts. I really don’t. 

For me, freedom is about a place to call home that I can clean in less that 90 minutes (including laundy) so that I can either cook more or explore more. A place that is safe and a place I can call mine. It’s about learning and challenging myself. It’s about doing more of what makes me happy. It’s about breaking patterns that no longer serve me. And right now, more than before, it’s about taking risks and putting myself out there. It’s about following dreams, goals, and passions. It’s about having adventures, trying new things, and meeting new people.

This week I am taking the leap and I hope you will too. I’d like to challenge everyone out there to start chasing their own freedom. I would love to hear what everyone is hoping to achieve. 

So, lets make a pact to check back in here a year from now and let each other know how it went. What dreams we built , what goals we achieved, and what it took to get there. You got this!!!

Cheers-

Susan

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2 thoughts on “Freedom Race

  1. Pingback: Q2 Book Review | Cheers, Susan

  2. Pingback: Happy 2016!!! | Cheers, Susan

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